I was invited by the management of the PICC – Philippine International Convention Center to spend an afternoon touring the facility. It may appear like the most random invite. The PICC isn’t your typical tourist place. Since I have publicly declared that the PICC is my favourite building in Manila, being invited there isn’t so random in my books.
I used to sneak in to the PICC and pretend to be scouting locations for events just to marvel at the massive concrete slabs, clean lines, smooth curves, and dramatic lights of the public spaces and private meeting halls. For most Filipinos, the PICC is the site of their graduation or professional convention. For me, it was neither of those, but I considered it an architectural gem, a reminder of a period in our history that is so intertwined with my personal family history.
Some facts: The Philippine International Convention Center is Asia’s first convention facility built specifically for a world event. It opened in 1976 by former President Ferdinand Marcos for the 1976 IMF-World Bank Meeting. It was built and completed in 23 months on land reclaimed from Manila Bay. The PICC was designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin. The architectural style of the PICC complements the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ brutalist style. The PICC is managed separately as a government-owned and controlled corporation ultimately under the ownership of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The PICC’s Main Lobby’s grand staircase and 3,000+ drop lights hanging from the ceiling.
An enormous painting by National Artist José T. Joya painting in the lobby. It is entitled “Ang Pagdiriwang,” and measures 5m x 8m.
An HR Ocampo triptych at the management office of PICC. The art collection housed at the PICC belong to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Another large work by Jose T. Joya, a sculpture in wood. This is almost as tall as me.
The sculpture garden was recently decorated with sculpture gifts from APEC member countries that participated in the 1996 conference in Manila. *
Appreciating the lines and curves of these office stairs. *
Another staircase, this time surrounded by original wood parkay flooring from 1976 . *
One of the reception halls, prepared for an event later that day. The PICC can host meetings, conferences, birthday parties, and weddings. Big or small. *
Original chandeliers at Reception Hall. *
Loving the chandeliers. Photo by PIAA.
The same red carpet staircase where St Mother Teresa and St Pope John Paul passed through. *
Everytime I visit the PICC during an event, I always stop to admire this walkway leading to the Plenary Hall.
The Garden. *
The path leading to the garden is inspired by the painting of Joya. *
Sculpture by Arturo Luz. *
I will always appreciate the clean lines and minimalism of this building. *
The Amorsolo restaurant on the second floor of the PICC Secretariat Building is open daily from Mondays to Fridays at 11:00 am to 2:00 p.m. It is operated by the Via Mare Corporation.
One of the meeting halls has a small theatre. *
One of the things I love to gush over, and is most often unappreciated, is the detailing of the wall panels. *
Carved in wood, these panels surround the interior of the theatre and meeting halls for the purposes of controlling sound and reducing noise. *
These benches are designed and carved by by National Artist for sculpture, Napoleon Abueva. *
The exterior deck of the Summit Halls has a view of the Manila Bay and may be used for outdoor events.
Lunch w the founder of Via Mare Glenda Barretto and PICC’s GM Renato Padilla. Via Mare is the exclusive caterer of PICC.
A special setting for me. I was totally surprised by this.
The menu, carefully prepared for me. I always associated PICC with big events, but it also makes for a quaint little venue for small events. Ask about the small dining rooms and meeting halls.
Crepes for dessert.
With Via Mare’s Mrs Glenda Barretto. *
Renato B. Padilla, PICC’s General Manager. *
An untitled Arturo Luz sculpture. *
With PICC’s Dinah Gonzalez and Portia Cabiad. *
Outfit: I wore a white shirt and black skirt, both from Uniqlo. And kitten heel pumps from French Sole.
Thank you, PICC.
Photos marked with “*” are taken by Marty Ilagan. With additional photos from my phone.